Channel 4 documentary Are Women The Fitter Sex? revealed that men are more likely to develop and die from cancer than women.
In scenes that aired tonight, Dr Ronx found that women, it appears, are the stronger sex, thanks to their XX chromosome which can give them added protection to diseases like cancer.
Men are more likely to develop diabetes and cancer research shows that men are 20% more likely to get cancer and 40% more likely to die from it.
Dr Ronx interviewed Dr Andrew Lane, who explained the science behind the gender bias.
He began by stating it was assumed that men were more likely to develop cancers due to participating in more risky behaviours like drinking and smoking.
However, while those are cancerous factors, biology is also at play.
‘Obviously, females have two X chromosomes and males have one X and one Y, so of course there are going to be differences there,’ Dr Lane said.
Having two X chromosomes means double the amount of genetic information.
Scientists now know that up to a quarter of the genes in the X escape inactivation and remain turned on, providing a set of back-up genes.
‘In our study, we called them “escape from X inactivation tumour suppressor genes”,’ Dr Lane continued. ‘They have normal functions and one of those functions is to prevent the cell from behaving like a cancer.’
‘Female cells, by virtue of having the escape, essentially have extra protection, and that simply was kind of a new idea that hadn’t been looked at across all cancer types,’ he added.
‘I don’t think it’s known by many physicians and scientists.’
Although females may have biological advances when it comes to cancers and diseases, it’s not all good news, as dangerous gender data gap exists which undermine how women are treated within the healthcare system.
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